ASUS refreshes their tablet/phone hybrid lineup with the Fonepad 7

asus fonepad 7ASUS has announced a refresh in their massive Fonepad line with the Fonepad 7. The device features some decent upgrades over previous models, plus Android 5.0 Lollipop right out of the box.

The 7-inch, 1280 x 800 tablet sports a Intel processor under the hood, keeping up the trend with the Fonepad lineup. You’ll also find 2 GB of RAM, up to 16 GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot, and a 5 megapixel rear camera. The Fonepad 7 supports 7 LTE bands for a wide range of wireless compatibility, and the speakers are located on the front of the device, which is a nice touch.
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VLC bringing Chromecast support with next update

VLC player androidIf you’ve ever dabbled in playing movies and TV shows on your computer, you’ve probably used VLC, or at least heard the name a few times. The program (and Android app!) supports nearly any file format or codec you throw at it, and it’s arguably the most cohesive media player available, even if it lacks some of the extra features other players have.

One thing that VLC has not had, though, was Chromecast support. When Google’s cheap streaming device was announced, VLC said they were planning on supporting it, but as of right now that hasn’t actually panned out. But according to some changes in VLC’s source code, version 3.0 looks like it’ll be bringing full Chromecast support so you can happily sling any media around to your televisions.
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Japan’s flip phone market grows for the first time in seven years at the expense of smartphones

samsung_w2014_flip_phoneJapan’s wireless industry is unique in that their carriers typically charge more for smartphones than any other country, but they also charge the least for basic phones, like flip phones. This has caused a pretty strange event in Japan where flip phones have actually grown in shipments for the first time in seven years. Inversely, that has caused smartphone shipments to decline as more and more people revert back to internet-enabled flip phones to save money.

Flip phones grew 5.7% in 2014, while smartphones shrunk about 5.3%. Smartphones shipments still hit about 27 million phones while flip phones only made up 10 million units, so if we’re looking at a pure volume standpoint, smartphones don’t have anything to worry about it. However, for manufacturers, it’s a tough market to penetrate if you’re trying to sell the latest and greatest touchscreen device. Companies like Panasonic have already left the smartphone market in Japan despite being a native Japanese company.
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Pebble app version 2.3 hits the Play Store with Android Wear compatibility

pebble_firmware_updatePebble recently announced that they were bringing Android Wear compatibility and actionable notifications to their smartwatch platform, and those features have finally gotten the green light for users. The update is available on the Play Store and brings the Pebble application to version 2.3. This update will let any Android Wear app work with the watch, plus you’ll get the ability to quick reply to text messages with some predefined responses.

You’ll also see some bug fixes, as well as the new option for apps and watch faces to update while Pebble is idle. You can see the full changelog below.
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Best apps for analyzing and improving battery life on your Android device

Android Battery LifeBattery life is one of those features that just hasn’t kept up with rest of the hardware on our Android devices. Our phones have extremely detailed picture quality, they’re nearing video game console levels of graphical fidelity, and they keep up with all kinds of health information and statistics about us, but getting one to last an entire day away from the wall charger is a tricky endeavor. Many manufacturers include their own power saving modes, and Google has recently added its own spin on power saving into Android with Lollipop, but there are a handful of extra steps and apps you can use to squeeze a little more life out of your device.

We’ve already covered a few of these apps, but things have changed drastically over the past few years. So this guide will let you know how some of those apps have improved and we will also let you know some new things you can do to extend the battery life of your phone.
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Metal Moto 360 variants will be available in Canada in March

moto_360_alternate_faceIf you’ve been waiting to pick up a Moto 360 with a metal band in Canada, your wait is almost over. The company is set to release the metal-clad variants of its smartwatch later in March this year at a few different retailers.

The dark and light metal Moto 360 will be available for $329, and you’ll be able to pick up both options at Future Shop or Best Buy. TELUS will also be carrying the dark metal 360, and they’ll exclusively sell the champagne finish watch with the 18 mm strap, if you’re looking for something a little thinner.
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Samsung awarded design patent for refined Galaxy Camera

samsung-galaxy-camera-2-01Samsung’s Galaxy Camera is a cool concept, but the actual design of the device is pretty clunky, to say the least. It looks like Samsung is working on updating that, though, as they’ve been awarded a design patent for a new camera phone device that’s much sleeker than what you can get right now.

The patent shows a device with a more refined body instead of the awkward grip that you’ll find on the current Galaxy Camera. The headphone jack on the device also appears to have been moved to the top and center, and it looks like Samsung has possibly found a way to integrate the flash into the camera lens encasement. There’s a small hole on the outer edges and no hole on the face of the device, so going by this single patent design, that’s the most likely conclusion.
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Dell announces new Chromebook 11 aimed at the classroom

dell chromebook 11 1One of the Chromebook’s most successful markets is the classroom, so it makes sense that manufacturers are trying to get a foothold in that sector. The newest device to throw its hat in the ring comes from Dell in the form of a revamped Chromebook 11 designed specifically for use in the classroom.

The original Chromebook 11 was a solid device, but this time around the laptop has been tweaked to cater to students and teachers. The body is completely made out of durable plastic and the trackpad and keyboard are all sealed against spills and damage. The entire laptop has been tested, so it should withstand all kinds of pressures, temperatures, drops, and vibrations, which is absolutely what belongs in a classroom.
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BLU announces the Studio Energy, a smartphone that lasts 4 days on a single charge

blu studio energyBLU has announced the Studio Energy smartphone with one killer selling feature: a whopping 5,000 mAh battery. That’s the biggest we’ve ever seen in a smartphone, and it supposedly features 45 days of standby time or 4 days of usage on a single charge. That’s something most other manufacturers can only dream of achieving with their flagship phones.

The other specs aren’t anything to write home about, but the device is priced at just $149.99 on Amazon, which is a fantastic price. The Studio Energy packs a 1.3 ghz quad-core processor with a Mali-400 GPU, a 720p screen, 8 GB of internal storage with expandable memory, and an 8 megapixel camera. It’ll be available in Ceramic White, Midnight Black, or Luxury Gold. It won’t compete with a Galaxy S 6 or LG G4, but hey, for $150, that’s not bad, especially if you value battery life.

Hit the break for the full press release from BLU.
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